I was visiting my sister in early September, and discovered this lone, vine maple leaf punctuating her otherwise completely green yard. I sighed, feeling the familiar, annual twinge of sorrow, realizing that this first fallen ember was a harbinger of autumn, the spark that would ignite the changing of seasons, thus ending the blue-sky balminess and carefree quality of sun-drenched summer days.
My sorrow was short lived, quickly transforming to anticipation as I envisioned all the cozy days and nights that lie ahead, lounging with the cats near the magnetic warmth of the wood stove, and snuggling in bed under a mound of comforters, safe from the night's chill and the winter windstorms that hurl rain against the windows as we sleep :-)
Technical info: The lighting for this image was provided by the afternoon sun. The black background is courtesy of the shade provided by a large coniferous tree. A steady, gentle breeze kindly parted its branches to offer a ray of illumination and lovely lighting opportunity.